DUO OF DUELLING DIVAS
September 12 to October 22
What’s it all about? This comedy sees a conniving producer lure two desperate actresses of a “certain age,” who also share a long-standing hatred of one another, to appear in his supposed Broadway show. How? By telling them they’ll star opposite Paul Newman. The show originally toured in 1986 with Carol Channing and Mary Martin. This production brings together two actresses famous for their portrayal of archrivals Alexis and Krystle Carrington on TV’s Dynasty, none other than Joan Collins and Linda Evans.
But will I like it? Did you like the Broadway classic A Chorus Line? Legends writer James Kirkwood co-authored the book for that musical, for which he won both a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize.
Be there. Legends opens at the Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King St. W.), a beaux-arts style theatre—now a National Historic Landmark—located in the Entertainment District.
Ka-ching! Tickets are $35 to $94. Call 416-872-1212 to purchase.A ROYAL MESS
What’s it all about? In Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, King Lear, the weary, aging king of Britain decides to step down from the throne and divide his kingdom among his three daughters. First, as a test, he asks how much each of them love him. The wicked Goneril and Regan falsely profess their love, while the steadfast Cordelia, his youngest and favourite, repelled by their deceit, chooses to remain quiet. An enraged Lear disowns her, but will come to realize whose love is truest and suffer the dire consequences of his foolishness. Soulpepper Theatre, an artist-founded classical repertory theatre company, stages this production.
But will I like it? Those who love the classics, of course, won’t want to miss this production by the acclaimed Soulpepper company. Also, visitors to the Distillery Historic District, where the theatre is located, can make a night of it.
Be there. Soulpepper’s home is the Young Centre for the Performing Arts (55 Mill St.), a design by renowned firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, which opened just this year.
Ka-ching! Tickets are $29 to $54. Call 416-866-8666 to purchase.BUNCH OF HAMS
MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOGT
To September 10
What’s it all about? This musical rendering of the cult movie favourite Monty Python and the Holy Grail recounts the escapades of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in their quest for the Holy Grail, the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper. The Tony Award–winning show is written by one of the original stars of the Monty Python troupe, Eric Idle, with long-time collaborator, composer John Du Prez. A killer bunny, farcical French guards and a limbless Black Knight all come to this party, too—but this time, with plenty of showgirls!
But will I like it? Plenty of updated material comes through send-ups of current pop culture references, but fans of the movie won’t be disappointed. You’ll be repeating those catch phrases all over again.
Be there. An elegant venue restored to its original 1920s design, the charming Canon Theatre (244 Victoria St.) is just south of Yonge-Dundas Square.
Ka-ching! Tickets are $26 to $110. Call 416-872-1212 to purchase.LAUGH ‘TIL YOU’RE BLUE IN THE FACE
BLUE MAN GROUP
What’s it all about? Blue Man Group, which celebrated its first anniversary in Toronto this summer, was founded by three New York natives, and now comprises 60 company members who rotate through the shows in cities where Blue Man Group performs. The troupe describes their performance art shows as “excitement-generating experiences.” To get you pumped, the cyan-dipped trio draw on everything from found-object instruments made of PVC tubes, closed-circuit TV screens, flip charts, paint and toilet paper. Fluorescent musicians arrayed on scaffolding provide live rock music.
But will I like it? Part sophomoric slapstick, part vaudeville homage, part social commentary, this lively show will appeal to anyone who enjoys both the unexpected and audience interaction. To literally get in on some of the action, buy seats in the first few rows—a spray zone called the Poncho Section (the theatre provides the ponchos!).
Be there. Blue Man Group has moved in for an indefinite run at the Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge St.), a modest venue that’s within easy walking distance from the corner of Bloor and Yonge.
Ka-ching! Tickets are $59 to $64. Call 416-872-1111 to purchase.TIP! Get a rush! Soulpepper offers rush tickets ($18, $5 for under 21 with ID) 15 minutes before showtime. Blue Man Group has rush tickets for students ($25 with ID) for all performances.—Anne Gibson